Changes in English Past Tense Use by Bilingual School-Age Children With and Without Developmental Language Disorder Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine changes in English past tense accuracy and errors among Spanish–English bilingual children with typical development (TD) and developmental language disorder (DLD). Method Thirty-three children were tested before and after 1 year to examine changes in clinically relevant English past ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   October 03, 2018
Changes in English Past Tense Use by Bilingual School-Age Children With and Without Developmental Language Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Peggy F. Jacobson
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, St. John's University, Queens, NY
  • Yan H. Yu
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, St. John's University, Queens, NY
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Peggy F. Jacobson: pfjacobson@aol.com
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Philippe Prévost
    Editor: Philippe Prévost×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   October 03, 2018
Changes in English Past Tense Use by Bilingual School-Age Children With and Without Developmental Language Disorder
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0044
History: Received February 3, 2017 , Revised July 31, 2017 , Accepted May 26, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0044
History: Received February 3, 2017; Revised July 31, 2017; Accepted May 26, 2018

Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine changes in English past tense accuracy and errors among Spanish–English bilingual children with typical development (TD) and developmental language disorder (DLD).

Method Thirty-three children were tested before and after 1 year to examine changes in clinically relevant English past tense errors using an elicited production task. A mixed-model linear regression using age as a continuous variable revealed a robust effect for age. A 4-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was conducted with age (young, old) and language ability group (TD, DLD) as between-subjects variables, time (Time 1, Time 2) and verb type (regular, irregular, and novel verbs) as within-subject variables, and percent accuracy as the dependent variable. Subsequently, a 4-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was conducted to measure the overall distribution of verb errors across 2 time points.

Results Overall, children produced regular and novel verb past tense forms with higher accuracy than irregular past tense verbs in an elicitation task. Children with TD were more accurate than children with DLD. Younger children made more improvement than older children from Time 1 to Time 2, especially in the regular and novel verb conditions. Bare stem and overregularization were the most common errors across all groups. Errors consisting of stem + ing were more common in children with DLD than those with TD in the novel verb condition.

Discussion Contrary to an earlier report (Jacobson & Schwartz, 2005), the relative greater difficulty with regular and novel verbs was replaced by greater difficulty for irregular past tense, a pattern consistent with monolingual impairment. Age was a contributing factor, particularly for younger children with DLD who produced more stem + ing errors in the novel verb condition. For all children, and particularly for those with DLD, an extended period for irregular past tense learning was evident. The results support a usage-based theory of language acquisition and impairment.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Grant 5RO3DC 07018-02 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders awarded to the first author. The authors are grateful to Richard Schwartz who provided assistance with design and stimuli development and graduate assistants Lauren Kiraly and Amanda Sherwood for proofreading. David Livert provided helpful insights regarding the data set in an earlier draft. Deepest gratitude is extended to the children and their families for their participation.
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